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Celebrating the end of Barre's Big Dig - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Celebrating the end of Barre's Big Dig

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BARRE, Vt. -

The $16 million Barre Big Dig finished up at the end of October. Residents here have had to put up with up to two years of disruptions. We decided to ask some people on the street what they think about it.

"I'm so excited about the new Main Street, the new restaurants, the new bookstore; Barre's just a unique little town," said Tony Campos of Barre.

"It was just so bright, up there you look down and it's such a nice place," said Donna Holden of Barre.

"Well, it's better than before at least," said Brittney Wheeler of Barre.

"I think now we'll see a lot more walking traffic," said Bob Ford of Barre. "Great to see no trucks down here because you can't hear yourself think when they come by, but I think they've really improved it."

"Of course a facelift is going to make everything look better," said Steve Henry of Barre. "But the question is, is it going to bring more jobs? That's my question."

"It looks great," said Wendy Pierson, who works in Barre. "I think we still have some empty storefronts that we want to fill, but I think it will be good."

While the bulk of the changes are underground in the form of new sewer, water and electric, they've also done a lot, installing new lighting and lamp posts and little baby trees all along Main Street.

"Everybody loves seeing the benches, the new trash cans, the new lighting. I mean, if you've come down here at night, you see it's all lit up downtown. There's no dark spots; the light goes from one post to the other. You're not walking through any dark spots or anything else," said Bob Nelson of the Barre Partnership.

"This is an adult day service. And they come out and sit on the benches. They love it. They love the new downtown. It's easy for them to walk on the sidewalks because they're flat now and easy to cross," said Linda Kuban of Project Independence.

"It just makes where the crosswalks are too narrow for the big trucks to go through, so I think it's ridiculous how they did it," said Jessica Laforest of Barre.

"I really enjoy it. I walk quite a bit and it's a big, big difference compared to what it was," said Joe Perreault of Barre.

"It's reface the town. It's made it look good. It's not so ratty looking anymore. It looks nice. It's very people-friendly," said Justin Donahue of Barre.

Reporter Alexei Rubenstein: Saturday it sounds like there's a big celebration going on.

Mary Jane Magnan/Wobby Jewelers: We have a huge open house going on where we're inviting everyone to come shop in the downtown and see our whole new look.

Saturday's Barre Open House events kick off at 1 p.m. with a ribbon cutting and then end the day at 5 p.m. with a parade, tree lighting and fireworks.

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